For Romeo and Juliet, you will be asked an essay question based on the themes or characters in the text. This means, you have to develop an in-depth knowledge of the whole play. You could be asked about fate, love, violence, Tybalt, Juliet, Friar Laurence. Any character or theme could be part of the exam.
The good news is, you will always have an extract to start from. So, a large part of your answer can include analysing this extract and exploring the extract in relation to the question.
Have a look at this example:
In this question, the main theme you are being asked to discuss is ‘conflict’ and have an excellent extract to start from. The question is deliberately very open, and there are lots of different ways you could approach it. This means there is no one ‘correct’ answer.
You could get full marks discussing:
- Juliet’s conflict with her family.
- The violence between the Montagues and Capulets.
- The conflict between parents and children.
- The deaths of Tybalt, Mercutio and Paris.
- The conflict between individuals like Romeo and Juliet and what society expects of them.
What the examiners want you to demonstrate is an in depth knowledge of the play and the ability to explore interesting ideas. Remembering some quotes will certainly help, but these can even be individual words.
Why not have a go at the essay? Start by making a mind-map of every part of the play that links to conflict. Which type of conflict would you focus on? What quotes might you learn to help you?